By Fortune Abang
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has underscored the need for the National Peace Policy (NPP) Bill to be passed into law urgently, to proffer solutions to Nigeria’s conflict situations.
The NPP is a national framework, designed to guide efforts to prevent conflicts and build peace in Nigeria.
The Director-General of the IPCR, Dr Bakut Bakut, made the call while answering questions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
Bakut lamented that the national peace policy had not yet been presented to the Federal Executive Council for endorsement.
He said that although Nigeria was the first country in Africa to develop that kind of policy, countries such as Ghana and Zimbabwe, who copied what Nigeria had done had since passed the policy into law with Nigeria still lagging.
“We were the first in the whole of Africa to develop NPP. Ghana came and copied from us, went ahead and established their own.
“Zimbabwe did the same. Other countries did their own and we now went back to try and copy what we are the originators of,” Bakut said.
Asked to shed light on the issues contained in the national peace policy, the director-general said: “The first thing we talked about was transmuting the institute to a commission and making sure there is a Commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons because that was where we saw the impending problem of harming Nigerians.
“We needed to control that. It is there.
“We also talked about the peace fund. We realised that you have to have money to do peace work and government cannot do all that alone.
“The private sector can actually bring in money to do that but it is not there.
“So if we have all these, the early warning issue came up from there too but we have extracted the early warning element, which is what we have institutionalised now and we have actually established an Early Warning Centre (EWC).
“All our zonal offices and peace-building offices are linked to the EWC.
“We get real-time information on what is happening and therefore, process it to where they should go,” said Bakut. (NAN)